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Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer

Research Home PageThe second interview for my research project on Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries was with film producer Ruth Kenley-Letts.

Ruth worked at BBC Drama before becoming an independent producer. Her film credits include Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1994), featuring a manic Richard E. Grant as Kafka with writer’s block, which won an Academy Award and a BAFTA; Strictly Sinatra (2001), for which she was nominated for the Carl Foreman BAFTA award; and Isolation, an atmospheric horror film set in rural Ireland, due for release in February 2007.


Ruth is currently filming The Margate Exodus, which will be a feature film as well as a day of live events in Margate on 30th September 2006. Commissioned by Artangel in association with Creative Partnerships, Arts Council England, Kent and Channel 4 Television, the film is being written and directed by Penny Woolcock and features the artwork of Antony Gormley.

Ruth kindly took a break from the filming to speak to me about the trials and tribulations of being a film producer, responsible for marshalling an army of actors and technical specialists to realise a writer/director’s vision. Anyone who thinks of the Creative Industries as a ‘touchy feely’ kind of business should listen to Ruth’s description of the military discipline of the film set. In many ways her description of the film industry – rigidly hierarchical, with the authoritarian figure of the director at the apex of the pyramid – flies in the face of received business wisdom about fostering creativity. Yet she also makes it clear that a range of people management styles are necessary, particularly in the way the producer and writer/director complement each other – the magic of the cinema has its spark in the magic of collaboration.

I’m recording more interviews for this series and will be posting them on the blog over the next few weeks…

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3’ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software


  1. Lois Bawtee says:

    I want to say a huge thank you for the Nativity which has just finished tonight. It has given the story of the birth of Jesus a totally new reality and made the wonder of the virgin birth even more amazing. Please get Tony Jordan to write more scripture stories.